It feels really good to be one the other side of Holy Week. Not only is the tomb discovered empty and a risen Jesus greets us, new life seems to be returning all around us in the greening grass, the blooming flowers, and leaves bursting forth from the branches. I was able to take some time just following the close of our Lenten journey and our Easter celebration by attending a theological conference and pastor’s retreat in Montana, just outside of Yellowstone National Park. The ranch pastures were crowded with calves and lambs while the public lands revealed new born elk and bison. I even saw a mother coyote watching over her pups as they poked their tiny heads out of their den. New life bursts forth and we can’t help but be inspired. This is what it means to be an Easter people.
Here are a few of the things I’ve been working on over the past month…
A Big Idea Emerges
A “Big Idea Team,” members representing the variety of ministry groups and demographics and with a spirit of curiosity, met recently to look forward to the year ahead. The task was to imagine what theme might shape our work together beginning in the fall and carry us through the following summer (and to follow up on this year’s theme, “Telling Our Story”). In the course of a 2-hour brainstorming session were able to decide on the theme “Listen. Learn. Love.” Now, ministry leaders are being asked to incorporate this new theme into our planning efforts. It’s going to be exciting to discover what they put together.
Everyone has a Story
On Wednesday evenings during Lent, we listened to “Stories for the Journey” embedded within Holden Evening Prayer. Each week, a different member of our community shared a first-person story of journey and they proved to be powerful and profoundly thought-provoking. I’m so grateful for each storyteller’s vulnerability and bravery. If you would like to listen to any of the stories, you can find them listed alongside our sermon archives found here. Then on Palm-Passion, I wove elements and take-aways from each story into God’s story as we were making our way towards the cross. I think folks found it to be an engaging and helpful entry into Holy Week and a great way to honor all our storytellers. Take a listen to the recap here.
Summer Worship is Coming!
Our worship planners have been busy putting together plans for the coming summer. Our Narrative Lectionary year will conclude on June 9 with Pentecost Sunday. The next Narrative Lectionary year will start up on Sept. 8 (if you’re curious – find the readings here) so over the summer, we have some freedom to explore other themes. For the rest of June and all of July, our planning team is excited to work around the theme “Who is my Neighbor?” and getting us more deeply connected to the stories of those around us. Then in August, we’re going to hear “A Great Big Fish Story” as we frame our worship around the book of Jonah. Remember, our Sunday morning schedule will change on June 2 with worship times at 8:30 and 10am. Only one worship service will be held at 10am on May 26, July 7, and Sept. 1, outside weather permitting.
I’m glad to be on the other side of the cross and the tomb with each of you. I hope this season of new life finds a way to break into your lives, reminding you of all the ways God is making our stories new. Inspired by this fresh start, we can answer together God’s charge to build up this church so that we can love the world.